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Joint Organisations to strengthen regional NSW

Joints Organisations (JOs) are a key NSW Government commitment to build stronger councils and improve service delivery and infrastructure across rural and regional communities.

The Local Government Amendment (Regional Joint Organisations) Act 2017 commenced on 15 December 2017 allowing councils to voluntarily join new JOs in their planning region.

JOs provide a forum for local councils and State agencies to collaborate, plan, set priorities and deliver important projects in regional NSW.

The NSW Government is providing $3.3 million in seed funding to establish JOs which will focus on the issues that matter most to regional communities. These include building strong businesses, creating jobs, securing water supplies, improving regional transport, and providing community infrastructure, services and facilities.

The principal function of JOs will be strategic planning and priority setting, intergovernmental collaboration, and regional leadership and advocacy.

The Office of Local Government (OLG) is actively supporting councils to develop a JO that best suits their needs.  This has included visits to councils and regions and the provision of an information pack to councils.

Interested rural and regional councils need to take the following steps in order to complete the nomination process:

1. Identify your council’s planning region according to the map provided in the information pack. Only councils in the Far West have the option to join a JO outside their planning region;

2. Consult with councils within your preferred regional grouping to reach agreement on JO membership, noting that each JO must have a minimum of three member councils;

3. Once the proposed membership is agreed, ensure each member council endorses the proposal by a resolution of council;

4. By 28 February 2018, submit your nomination to form a JO by email to jointorganisations@olg.nsw.gov.au, marked ‘Nomination for Joint Organisation’. This is to include a copy of the resolution and the date council made that resolution; and

5. Councils should also complete and return a Forming a Joint Organisation – checklist with the nomination.

Unlike a normal council resolution, the legislation provides a fixed 28 day period for councils to rescind such a resolution. As such, councils are also asked to undertake a further step, which may fall after 28 February:

6. After the expiry of a period of 28 days from the making of council’s resolution, the General Manager inform the Minister in writing that council’s resolution has not been rescinded.

The JO network and funding allocations will be announced in March, with JOs proclaimed in April and operational by July 1.

To answer queries and provide support in this process, OLG Relationship Managers are making contact with each council eligible to join a JO during January. Councils can speak with their Relationship Manager at any time by calling OLG on (02) 4428 4100.

The NSW Government looks forward to working with JOs and member councils to ensure each region can grow to its full potential.

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